| December 12, 2016

Kealy - Richer city, poorer country is not good for our State

The Nationals Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP said a new report released last week has highlighted the need for a strong population and decentralisation policy in Victoria.

Latest figures released by SGS Economics and Planning which calculate capital city and rest-of-state Gross Domestic Product figures highlight that Melbourne continues to grow while country areas is now going backwards.

“Statistics released last week are concerning and highlights the widening gap between the rich city and poorer country areas. This gap has been increasing over the last nine years with growth in rural and regional Victoria going backwards,” Ms Kealy said.

“While these figures have been driven by structural changes in the economy including the closure of some major manufacturing industries, this is not something that we can sit back and ignore.

“As a member of The Nationals, regional economic development is at the core of everything I stand for and we must do better to support our rural and regional areas.

“The Liberal-Nationals Coalition has established a population taskforce, of which I am Vice-Chair, to come up with policies to get people and jobs into country parts of the State and relieve the burden on an already overcrowded Melbourne.

“The Population Policy Taskforce has released a discussion paper ‘Looking Forward – Managing Population Growth for all Victorians’ which looks at tackling Melbourne’s population growth crisis by creating opportunities for rural and regional growth.

“The discussion paper provides the opportunity for all Victorians to have input into this important policy issue and I encourage regional Victorians to have their say at www.vicpopulation.com.au.

“We can’t let business as usual continue and we must provide jobs and economic stimulus in country areas, especially in Western Victoria.

“The Melbourne Labor Government hasn’t helped by axing programs to build country infrastructure such as the Country Roads and Bridges Program.  It took The Nationals in Parliament to force Labor into giving a share of the $9.7 billion from the lease of the Port of Melbourne back to the country,” she said.

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